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This entry was published on 2021-06-18
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SECTION 92-F
Prepaid telephone calling card consumer protections
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 5
§ 92-f. Prepaid telephone calling card consumer protections. 1.
Definitions. For the purposes of this section, unless the context or
subject matter otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the
following meanings:

a. "Company" means any entity providing prepaid calling services to
the public using its own or a resold telecommunications network;

b. "Prepaid calling services" or "services" means any prepaid
telecommunications service that allows consumers to originate calls
through an access number and authorization code, whether manually or
electronically dialed;

c. "Prepaid calling card" or "card" means any object purchased for a
sum certain that contains an access number and authorization code that
enables a consumer to use prepaid calling services. It does not include
any object of that type used for promotional purposes;

d. "Cellular telephone services" means commercial mobile telephone
services.

2. Disclosure requirements. Any company that provides prepaid calling
services through prepaid calling cards shall be required to print
legibly on each card the following information:

a. name of the company;

b. toll-free customer service number;

c. toll-free network access number, if such number is required to
access service;

d. authorization code, if such code is required to access service;

e. any expiration date or expiration policy;

f. instructions for use of the card; and

g. in the case of a company that offers prepaid cellular telephone
services by means of a prepaid calling card, such prepaid calling card
shall have printed on its face, in conspicuous print of a font in bold
face print that is at least fourteen-point sized, the expiration date or
the expiration policy for the cellular minutes purchased with the card.

3. Any company that provides prepaid calling services through prepaid
calling cards shall print legibly on each card or packaging the
following information:

a. any surcharges or fees, including monthly fees per-call access
fees, or surcharges for the first minute of use that may be applicable
to the use of the prepaid calling card or prepaid calling services
within the United States;

b. any additional or different prices, rates, or unit values
applicable to international usage of the prepaid calling card or prepaid
calling services;

c. any minimum charge per call, such as a three minute minimum charge;

d. any charge for calls that do not connect; and,

e. any recharge policy.

4. Customer service requirements. a. Any company that provides prepaid
calling services shall establish and maintain a toll-free customer
service telephone number with a live operator to answer incoming calls
twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to receive customer
complaints and to provide information, including, but not limited to,
the following:

i. description of rates, surcharges and fees;

ii. description of the company's recharge, refund, and expiration
policies;

iii. if applicable, the amount of value remaining on the consumer's
account; and

iv. terms and conditions of service and monthly service charges.

b. Any company offering prepaid cellular telephone services shall be
deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of this section if,
when a request for information is made outside of normal business hours,
that company provides the information requested on the next business
day.

5. Return and refund policies. Any company that provides prepaid
calling services shall provide a refund to any purchaser of a prepaid
calling card or service if the network services associated with the card
or service fail to operate in a commercially reasonable manner. The
refund required by this section shall be in an amount not less than the
value remaining on the card in the form of a replacement card or
additional time on the card and shall be provided to the consumer within
sixty days from the date of receipt of notification from the consumer
that the card has failed to operate in a commercially reasonable manner.

6. Cards without a specific expiration date or policy printed on the
card and with a balance of service remaining shall be considered active
for a minimum of one year from the date of purchase, or if recharged,
from the date of the last recharge.

7. In the case of prepaid calling cards or services utilized at a pay
phone, the company may provide a voice prompt notification of any
applicable pay phone surcharges, in lieu of providing notice of
surcharges as required by subdivision three of this section.

8. Enforcement. The commission shall have the power, consistent with
federal law, to assess a penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars
against any company that provides prepaid calling cards or services that
knowingly fails or neglects to comply with any provision of this section
or any regulation or order of the commission implementing or enforcing
the provisions of this section. All moneys recovered from any
administrative penalty shall be paid into the state treasury to the
credit of the general fund.